Zakale Creations, Mathare Slum, Nairobi, Kenya
In 2001 John set up Zakale Creations. The Project is located in Huruma, which is part of Mathare Valley. The slum population is approx. 8,000 with a very high unemployment rate (approx. 80%). The people who live here have many problems including poor housing, lack of basic facilities, including water, roads etc. and lack of education. The ‘drop out’ from Primary School is very high and few complete their Primary School education. Please click here for more information on Mathare Slum.
John was brought up in this slum and still lives locally. Within the community he is active on a number of local committee’s including football training, traditional dance, garbage collection and security services. Through these committees suitable people are identified for training at the workshop. There are many more people who wish to join the project than the Project can cater for so competition for places is tough! Approximately 10 people trained here are now independent craftsmen and woman, and have set up their own jewellery making businesses and work at local markets.
It is a highly organised workshop and is very creative. John has trained various team members to manage responsibilities and now has: Workshop Manager / Sales manager / Designer (Wire) / Giriama Bead Specialist / Bead Earrings Specialist.
Their recycled range employs others outside of the workshop, who collect and clean bottletops, wire, tin cans and old cooking pots to be transformed into beautiful jewellery. see the latest Zakale Creations range here.
This workshop is improved year on year. It has been extended, re fitted and now has internet connection. It also has new machines and is a very nice working environment, maintained perfectly both inside and out.
In addition to running this Project John has worked with The Zuri Foundation on our Walk Against Crime project, which brought 10 dancers from Mathare slum to the UK in 2013, a number of whom work at Zakale Creations. read about Walk Against Crime.
“A Word From Helen!
I think one of the greatest challenges with fair trade is ensuring long term business for the workshop you are trading with. We have worked with this group since 2006. We have worked hard with the help of some of our customers, for example Shared Earth, to develop new products and designs with Xcel. Vincent, a designer, is constantly trying to change the products made at the workshop. Ishmael is also very creative and makes beautiful recycled pieces. The work ethic of the young people who work in this industry in Kibera is second to none and with more support for this range of products the workshop can help many more people change their lives. Its potential is unlimited! When I visit Kibera I am made so welcome. Visiting the homes of those who work on this project
I have got to know their families and culture. The challenges I have seen them face over the years and overcome is my inspiration! I can’t wait to visit Xcel again soon.